Goodwood Week polo throws up some thrillers at Cowdray

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Goodwood Week polo at Cowdray Park saw a busy programme of exciting matches leading to the finals and subsidiary finals of the Harrison and Holden White trophies.

Saturday’s final of the Harrison Cup, one of the UK’s most important 15 goal competitions, saw 2011 winners Lamrei meet Cowdray Vikings.

The Vikings featured talented young trio George Pearson (0 goals) and 4-goalers Jack Richardson and Lanto Sheridan working competently around England team stalwart James Beim.

Lamrei featured Argentine 6-goal players Santiago Gaztambide and Michel del Carril in the central positions with John Kent (2 goals) at the front and patron Charlie McCowen at back.

Cowdray had a great start with Richardson first to score plus a penalty conversion from Beim. The second chukka saw Lamrei make their mark with Santiago Gaztambide flying.

Chukka three saw Beim and Kent achieving skilful field goals to leave Cowdray just in front by half-time.

In the second half Lamrei began to up the pressure, yet just as it seemed Kent had levelled the score for the first time, Richardson backed the ball off the line, leaving it to young George Pearson to carry the ball the length of the field, scoring a superb field goal and re-establishing his side’s lead.

However, Lamrei dug deep and Gaztambide and Del Carril began to play a tighter game, converting a penalty apiece to leave it 5-5.

After several near misses for both sides, McCowen made a brilliant charge to pick up a pass from Del Carril, resulting in the winning goal.

Beim had one last chance to level with a 60-yard penalty but missed, leaving Lamrei winners for the second year.

Prizes were presented by Jamie Gordon of Casablanca Polo. Santiago Gaztambide was named most valuable player and his mare Molonga won the Brook Johnston trophy for the best playing pony.

Sunday saw the end of the UK’s most popular polo tournament, the 8-goal Holden White Cup, which this year attracted 36 sides. In the final were Simon Arber’s Four Quarters Orange, with -1 goal player Camilla Beresford making a promising debut at No2, Tomas Garbarini Islas at three, and the talented Australian 6-goal player Rob Archibald at back.

Somerton’s team of Irish patron Jack Armstrong fielded Guillermo MacLoughin at two, Adrian Wade at three and Jack Berner at back.

Somerton kicked off with a good field goal from Jack Berner which he followed up with a penalty. Orange came back with Garbarini Islas shooting a lovely field goal and equalising.

Archibald galloped down-field from the Somerton half to score the next goal and give Four Quarters Orange the lead.

The first penalty gave Orange a 4-2 lead. The third chukka saw Somerton’s Wade make a great pass to Berner and then a foul by Four Quarters resulted in a penalty, giving McLoughlin the chance to pull Somerton up a goal.

In the final chukka a penalty to Somerton brought a 30-yard hit at goal to equalise. A pick-up by Berner near the goal saw him push the ball through the posts to give Somerton the lead.

Archibald’s 60-yard penalty went wide and Somerton ran out winners 5-4.

Armstrong said: “This was by far the toughest match in the series for us – it has been incredibly exciting.”

The cup was presented by the Hon Lila Pearson who, with Jamie Gordon, also presented prizes. The award for most valuable player went to Camilla Beresford and best playing pony was White Face owned by Max Routledge.

LIZ HIGGINS & ALICE KENT